Emma Ch. 46

bybradley_stoke©

XLVI

Pregnancy was not a pleasant ordeal. In fact, as it came closer to giving birth, Charlotte came to more and more wish that it was over and done with. The weight of her unborn child had become more and more of a burden, and at times she almost resented its presence within her womb: a feeling that gave her feelings of remorse and worry whether she was really ever meant to do be a mother. After all, she was a lesbian, and children was something lesbians were not supposed to have or to worry about. Even if she viewed Josephine as the true spiritual father of her child. And the pain of pregnancy wasn’t just in her stomach, but in her swollen breasts and weighed down her spine and made her feel sick and nauseous every morning. Would it ever end?

Her last day of work before taking maternal leave was a sad one. She did very little work on this day: less than even the little work that she was being allocated by her sympathetic bosses. She kissed her naked colleagues goodbye, and let herself be escorted home by Enid, letting the young girl embrace and kiss her even though in truth she no longer had much appetite or inclination for even Enid’s very tender lovemaking.

Josephine also took time off work, turning down all offers of work so that she could be by her spouse’s side as she came closer to the day of her hospital appointment. Josephine was uncertain how to behave, clearly unsettled by Charlotte’s loss of sexual appetite: cancelling all the advances of the men who had been such a reliable source of pleasure and distraction up till then. The two girls would nestle together under the sheets of their bed indulging an appetite for chocolate and cookies rather than sexual ecstasy. In fact, Josephine was sure she felt Charlotte’s pregnancy almost as much as if it were her own: worried indeed whether she might herself gain weight from all the high-calorie food she was sharing with her spouse.

Even the times Josephine spent away from Charlotte, shopping or making arrangements for the birth felt almost like betrayal to her. She felt her true role was to be her wife’s constant companion. She worried as she was filling her basket in the supermarket whether even these moments of separation would be moments she would forever regret as moments she should have been by Charlotte’s side when the spasms which were happening so infrequently now would break into the pattern her ante-natal classes had warned her about.

But when it happened, there was an air of inevitability about it. Charlotte’s spasms came with the rhythmic regularity that were expected, the taxi-ride through the city was tense but not unforeseen: she had even had the presence of mind to dress Charlotte for a world where her nudity would be frowned on, and even to pack the night-gown that she had the foresight to buy for the hospital ward. There was no such thing as a hospital or even a ward for the committed naturist.

Josephine stayed with Charlotte as she endured the many hours of labour and finally witnessed the emergence of the new baby, as its head emerged damp and squashed from between Charlotte’s legs. It was a boy: healthy and vigorous as demonstrated by his first cries as it came into the world. So it was a Thomas Edward, as the two girls had agreed, not an Emma Susan. And as soon as he was lifted to the air by the midwife, placenta dripping from his shiny skin, umbilical cord dangling from his navel, Josephine could see that it would be less difficult than she’d imagined to hazard who the actual biological father could be. His skin was a light chocolate brown, which meant that the father would have been one of the two or was it three black men that Charlotte had had sex with in that fateful few weeks nine months before when he had been conceived.

Charlotte was exhausted by her hours of exertion, but nonetheless desperate to see who she had borne. She yelped with a delight as the baby settled down in her arms while the midwifes and doctors busied themselves. She was now a mother, and, she thought, smiling at her anxious lover, Josephine was now a father.

She stayed in hospital for less than a week, in which time all her friends visited. Enid and Hyacinth, Susan and Rosemary, colleagues from work and Josephine’s parents. Maisie visited, but by herself, with neither Tanya nor Emma for company: she was as fascinated as anyone by the sight of the little boy: his small walnut crumpled face, his puffy eyes, the small perfectly formed hands that opened and closed without grasping on anything, and the bush of black curls over his light chocolate brown face. Charlotte smiled indulgently at young Thomas, while Maisie sat on the edge of the bed, uncertain as what to say or do.

“Where’s Emma?” Charlotte asked, disappointed that her closest friend hadn’t come to see her. “Is she busy?”

Maisie shook her head sadly. “I don’t know. I’ve left her. I’m staying at Tanya’s now.”

“Tanya?” wondered Charlotte. She glanced at Josephine, who was sitting on the chair at the side of the bed just by the assortment of cards and fruit that people had brought in. Over the past few weeks her concerns had been primarily focused on her own pains and trials, but she and Josephine had noticed that Emma was distinctly less happy than she had been. In fact, they had noticed Emma’s mood in recent months climb to a level of cheerfulness that was quite unusual in such an intense woman, and then, quite suddenly, descend to a kind of despondency. And now, at this important moment of Charlotte’s life, where was she? Charlotte had always dimly relied on Emma’s support and sympathy in making these difficult decisions of marriage and motherhood, and she was surprised by how acutely she was wounded by its apparent absence.

Maisie eulogised about Tanya and expressed her sadness about leaving Emma. “But it had to happen. We’ve been together for such an absolutely long time.”

Josephine tenderly kissed Maisie, aware of how guilt in leaving Emma was welling up in her, and how Charlotte was clearly quite upset at the news of her best friend’s loss, and, knowing Emma’s passion for the girl, how miserable she must now feel without her. Perhaps it was because of this sorrow that Emma hadn’t visited her in these days?

In fact, Emma did visit, but only briefly. She arrived early in the visiting hours, looking pale and slightly unwell, and quite uncomfortable in the long thin overcoat she wore to cover her nakedness. She wasn’t very chatty, and smiled only very politely. Her thoughts were not focused on Charlotte or little Thomas at all. Charlotte could see that her best friend was not overly keen on children anyway. She showed very little of the enthusiasm for babies that most of her visitors had displayed, and asked only the most perfunctory questions about his well-being. And then she left, leaving a very sad kiss on Charlotte’s cheeks and lips, and swept out of the hospital ward, caring little as always for the eyes that trailed behind her, questioning just how much was not hidden beneath her coat.

Soon, Charlotte was out of the hospital and back at the flat she now shared only with Josephine and the baby. She was still weak, and felt rather depressed despite herself. She didn’t know how she was supposed to feel, although the ante-natal classes had given her fair warning that recovery from childbirth was by no means instantaneous. Part of her felt that she should be feeling more positively about life now that she had achieved what she had been hoping for so very much for all these months. But instead she felt drained and somewhat disorientated by the strange routine of life dictated by Thomas’ needs to eat and sleep, and his equal and consequent needs to shit, piss and vomit.

Josephine stayed by her side as much as she could, doing rather more than her fair share of feeding the baby, caring for Charlotte’s needs and keeping house. She also acted as hostess to the stream of visitors coming to see how the new mother was and to admire the progress of little Thomas. And when there were no visitors and she had no chores to attend to, she would lay on the bed next to Charlotte, holding her close, admiring the stomach which had so recently swollen so monstrously, and showed clear signs of the stretching, the swollen breasts and the lactating nipples, and Charlotte’s sad plaintive smiles as they lay hand in hand on the bed.

Much as Josephine so much desired Charlotte’s body, sex was not the frantic frequent affair of not long distant months ago. Cuddling, caressing and kissing was usually all there was, although Charlotte had the energy and inclination to take Josephine’s clitoris and vulva to her mouth and lick, chew and taste the object of her most passionate desire. Josephine knelt up, her knees on either side of Charlotte’s chest, her arms supporting herself up against the bedroom wall, while below she felt the familiar lapping of her wife’s tongue amongst the folds and contours of her most private parts. She could see that even this little amount of lovemaking was all Charlotte was as yet willing to embrace, and that it would be several more weeks until sex between the two of them would recover its previous pitch, and longer still until Charlotte would once again entertain the company of men.

Enid was Charlotte’s most frequent visitor. She would sit naked bestraddled on the massive double bed, holding Charlotte’s hand and staring admiringly into her eyes. Josephine, however, knew that as much as Enid loved Charlotte, even though they had only made love together on less than a dozen occasions, it was towards herself that Enid’s feelings were strongest. The girl’s reaction was so transparent whenever Josephine took her by the hand or gave her a kiss. Enid’s mouth would open in ever-frustrated anticipation and her eyes would close invitingly.

Then Thomas burst into tears from his cot at the end of the bed. Josephine jumped up, and picked up the baby who instinctively grasped at her naked breasts, and fixed his wet hungry lips on Josephine’s nipples.

“There’s nothing for you there, Tommy!” Josephine said with a good-humoured smile pulling the disappointed child off from her bare breasts and passing him over to Charlotte, who very quickly cradled the baby in her arms and manoeuvred her large aureate breasts towards the baby’s greedy toothless mouth. Enid was fascinated to see the very different hunger that Charlotte’s breasts were satisfying, so different in kind from that which they had so often done for her.

Charlotte looked at Enid as Thomas drank the milk from her nipples, as the girl sat with Josephine’s arm around her shoulder at the foot of the bed. She reflected on Enid’s lust for Josephine and smiled sadly. “You can, you know,” she said. “I don’t mind.”

“What do you mean?” gasped Enid, uncertain that she had heard right, but nonetheless aware of the tightening squeeze on her upper arm from Josephine who had heard quite clearly and knew exactly what her spouse was saying.

“I know what you want,” Charlotte elaborated. “And I know what Josephine wants, too. But as for me … I don’t know … after all that effort: the straining and whatever … I’m just not so keen. And I so want Josephine to be happy.”

“If you’re sure?…” asked Josephine extending an arm out to the hand that wasn’t supporting Thomas.

“I’m sure,” said Charlotte firmly, seeing that Thomas was now fed, and just as suddenly as he’d awoken, had fallen back to sleep. She lifted the boy up to her wife, who carried him carefully and tenderly back to his cot. Enid watched with a thumping heart, her breath short with dread and anticipation, as she watched Josephine’s arched, tall naked form bend over the cot: the line of her spine raised up and trailing down in descending hummocks to the valley of her buttocks.

And then, making sure the baby was settled, Josephine turned around to display the full beauty of her perfect body: the swan-like neck, the slim waist, the natural firm breasts, and the tidy triangular patch of hair that almost obscured her greatest treasures. She strode towards the bed, a broad smile across her face, her eyes shining in that unmistakeable way that Enid had come to recognise in Charlotte when they had made love, and the cheeks shining like a pair of apples between the lines of her toothy smile and the sparkling jewels of her eyes.

Enid felt her passion rise from a deep well of longing as Josephine’s lips approached her own, and then she was lost in passion and desire as their lips met, their tongues battled against each other, and Josephine’s hands explored her naked body. Awkwardly she opened her arms and grasped Josephine’s body to her own, pulling her down onto the bed on top of her, breathing heavily as her lust and desire erupted from her and shook her body in a way that she’d only experienced before with Charlotte. And then hands, lips, fingers, tongue all over her body as Enid returned the intimacy as best she could. Josephine was at last in her arms! That beautiful body, the face which shone a beauty greater than the sum of any parts! Such ecstasy!

Charlotte lay beside the pair, her lower torso and legs beneath the duvet and sheets that covered her, watching with approval the lovemaking of her wife and her colleague. Her hand moved down beneath the sheets and stroked her crotch as it moistened from the pleasure Josephine’s pleasure brought to her. She had worried so much that her wife had sacrificed so much for her, and here in the form of this little girl of such single-minded passion was what was needed to bring relief. As her fingers explored her clitoris and the slippery folds of her vulva, she wondered if she had the energy to participate, but though a part of her desired the thrust and grapple of sex, she knew she had none of the energy and somehow lost the sexual inclination to relieve herself in such a gross physical way.

Josephine took Charlotte’s hand in hers while her tongue and eyes explored Enid’s vagina, the rich whiff of passion filling her nostrils, her tongue and lips slipping on the moist folds of the vulva, small strands of brown hair between her teeth and tickling the back of her tongue. Beneath her, she could feel Enid convulse with pleasure, shuddering as her sweaty body slid about on the sheets by the pushed-back duvet, her tongue and teeth and nose thrust deep inside her own vagina, a finger occasionally probing and exploring the puckered anus and adding to the pleasure of sex she had almost forgotten these past few weeks.

And eventually, after gasps, cries and yelps of pent-up passion and release, the couple disengaged and slumped on the sheets by the side of Charlotte. With a sigh, Charlotte put an arm under and around the two lovers and her lips tenderly kissed Josephine’s cheek. Such bliss! Such joy!

And then, as babies do when disturbed by unfamiliar sounds and smells, Thomas suddenly burst into tears, demanding yet more succour. Without a thought, Josephine pulled herself away from the caresses of both Enid and Charlotte and rushed to bring the baby to the teat it desired so much. As she carried the yelling baby, she smiled with pleasure at the stretched out forms of Enid and Charlotte over the disarray of sheet, duvet and pillow: the one with a breast raised by a hand to receive Thomas’ eager mouth and the other engulfed in the silliest of grins, curled up in a foetal ball and her arms thrust between her legs. So, she thought as she passed Thomas to his mother, this is what married life is like.

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